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Sad news of the week: Elephant poaching in Africa is 'out of control'

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We'd really like to end the week with some more cheerful news, but it would be wrong not to mention this. According to new research, more than 11,000 elephants have been killed by ivory poachers in Gabon since 2004 and campaigners are saying the situation is 'out of control' and if not changed soon the 'future of the elephant in Africa is doomed'.

The African country is home to over half of the continent's forest elephants (recently featured on BBC excellent 'Africa'). These magnificent creatures have excellent quality tusks which sadly makes them prime targets for poachers hoping to get rich on ivory trade.

Since 2004 between 44-77% of the elephants have been killed as demand for jewellery and other ivory in Asia remains high.

Despite efforts by the government, they are failing to monitor the vast area of Minkeve where the elephants live. It is believed that 50 to 100 elephants were being killed every day in the park in 2011.

You can help by signing WWF's petition to remove loopholes that allow ivory trade to continue.

"Every day in the savannas and forests of Africa, elephants are being gunned down for their ivory tusks. Across the continent, tens of thousands of these majestic animals are being slaughtered each year. In many places the species has already been poached to extinction. If we don't act now there may be no wild elephants left.

Elephant poaching is being driven by demand for ivory carvings and trinkets in Asia where many consumers think "elephant teeth" simply fall out and re-grow without hurting the animal. The truth is that ivory comes from dead elephants."

The new research has been carried out by the Gabonese national parks agency (ANPN) alongside WWF and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

Image via WWF

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